UT Austin Student Foundation launches ContribUTe 2018 campaign to promote philanthropy on campus

Tehreem Shahab

ContribUTe 2018, an annual University-wide campaign to encourage students to participate in philanthropy, was launched this week and will continue throughout October. 

The campaign is led by the UT Student Foundation, a student organization that assists other organizations with fundraising in collaboration with the Office of Development. Students can donate to Student Emergency Services, UT Outpost and SURE Walk through a HornRaiser page set up by the Foundation. Students can also donate to other areas of campus, such as intramural sports teams or a specific college. 

UT Student Foundation’s president Hussain Alkhafaji said special attention was given to Student Emergency Services, which he has used himself, as well as to UT Outpost and SURE Walk. 

“These resources are instrumental for students across all walks of life on this campus and, oftentimes, they are facing a significant deficit in their operational budgets,” said Alkhafaji, a public health and journalism senior, in an email. “Life is unpredictable, and students are found to be at their most vulnerable when they go to resources like Student Emergency Services.” 

Student Emergency Services and UT Outpost, a resource that provides food packages for students facing food insecurity, are operated mostly on donations.

Over the last couple of years, Student Emergency Services has provided about $20,000 in financial support through various avenues, said Kelly Soucy, Student Emergency Services director. Soucy said through ContribUTe donations, the Student Emergency Services Emergency Fund may be able to provide more support for students struggling to pay rent or for prescription medication. 

“Since we are donation based, we provide up to $300 for our students through our grant scholarship fees,” Soucy said. “But by being a beneficiary of the program, we might be able to provide more than $300.” 

UT Outpost coordinator Will Ross said donations could sustain the program so that it can continue providing nutritious food and professional clothing for interviews, a resource they recently started offering. 

“If we are ever having a period of low sustainable donations, (ContribUTe donations) would give us the freedom to be able to go buy food and put it on the shelves if need be to make sure we are meeting our students’ needs,” Ross said. 

Madeline Nassif, the Student Foundation’s vice president of development, said although anyone can participate in the campaign, it is primarily targeted toward students. 

“We all have a responsibility to each other, and it starts now,” social work senior Nassif said.